'Not more than 10' heinous crime convicts surrender after Duterte call: DOJ

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2019 11:31 AM | Updated as of Sep 05 2019 07:26 PM

Bureau of Corrections interns help guard the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on Sept. 3, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - "Not more than 10" freed convicts of heinous crimes surrendered in response to President Rodrigo Duterte's call, while all 1,914 identified by authorities were placed on an immigration watch list, a Cabinet official said Thursday.

Duterte gave the former inmates 15 days to surrender and offered a P1-million bounty for each as he fired Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon following public uproar over prisoners' use of good conduct credits to secure an early release.

At a Senate hearing on the Good Conduct Time Allowance or GCTA law, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said his office obtained a list of 1,914 convicts who were freed on account of good conduct.

Guevarra said some of the released convicts have also “sent feelers” for their surrenders.

“Probably they are just waiting for the mechanics on how to go about this. We hope many more will follow after within the next 15 days,” Guevarra said.

“All they need to do is go to the nearest police station or military facility and state they are one of the 1,914 PDLS (persons deprived of liberty) released on account of good conduct.”

The Senate and the House are investigating the GCTA law following reports that former Laguna town Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted of murder and rape, might benefit from it.

Asked for a specific law for the rearrest order, Guevarra on Wednesday said the "basis for rearrest is not a law but jurisprudence, which forms part of the law of the land."

A 2018 Supreme Court decision also held that the power to issue hold departure orders rested with the courts and not on an executive agency like the Department of Justice.